Cheesy Penne & Meatballs Garlic Bread Bowls

This recipe is one of those recipes that I’ve had in my back pocket for centuries (cause I’m that old) but then kinda forgot about.  I can remember when those big pizza chain stores came out with these however I  have been making these, even way back in the late 80’s early 90’s when my brother had a pizza shop.  Granted we didn’t sell them but hey, when you’re running the store in the mornings or late at night, you want to experiment.  And experiment I did.  I love these things though I will be completely honest, these are a total carb fest. I mean pizza dough AND pasta.  But hey, everything in moderation, right?!  Eat a balanced healthy diet and exercise.

Pasta Bread Bowl

This recipe kind of resurfaced out of my needing to clean out my fridge.  See I always, ALWAYS have pasta, meatballs and marinara sauce on hand.  Please, I married into an Italian family.  It’s in my wedding vows! Just like my vow to kill all spiders I had to vow to always, ALWAYS have pasta and sauce on hand.

These bread bowls are best made for individual sized however Mr. Fantabulous is the only one that I know of that can finish a ‘single’ one himself. Mine took me 3 days.  LOL  But then again I don’t eat a lot.  These are just so so SO good! The bread is actually a garlic bread bowl and NOTHING is better with pasta than killer garlic bread!

Pasta Bread Bowl4

These are fairly easy to make.  I think the longest thing is just waiting for the dough to proof.    Make it when you get up in the morning, allow it to proof and then by mid afternoon you’re ready to assemble, bake and then eat!

If you want to slow the rise, you can always make it and then let it rise in the cool fridge. Heck, you can use leftover pasta noodles as well.

Pasta Bread Bowl5

With these, you seriously can put in whatever you like. Want chicken in it? Add some cooked chicken with the pasta. Don’t want meatballs? Leave ’em out! Add mushrooms or other veggies. I would advise if you’re using harder veggies that you soften them first (broccoli, cauliflower, etc). I’ve made this with zucchini ribbons. LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE it! Just shave thin ribbons of zucchini and add that to the mix of the pasta before you bake it. If you want them a tad softer, saute them first.

Pasta Bread Bowl3

This is just…

seriously, I need to quit typing and just give you the recipe.

Go make this!


Pasta Bread Bowl2

Actually wait, a few of you have asked on what type of pizza peel, screens and stones I use when I make pizzas and bread.  These are the ones that I love, love, LOVE and will not make breads, doughs and pizzas without!

Pizza Peel
Pizza Paddle
Bread and Pizza Stone
♥ Pizza Screens

Okay now you can go and make these Cheesy Penne & Meatballs Garlic Bread Bowls! *wink*

Cheesy Penne & Meatballs Garlic Bread Bowls
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  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (~1 packet)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105-155 degrees F/40-46 degrees C)
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbl butter, cut into cubes (cold)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (or any high gluten), plus extra as needed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbl garlic powder
  • 1 Tbl oregano, dried
  • All-purpose flour for rolling and shaping
  • 4 cups cooked penne pasts
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce, warmed
  • 4 Tbl ricotta
  • 4 Tbl grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 large cooked meatballs, cut in half
Additional Items
  • 1-2 Tbl melted butter
  • cornmeal
Make the dough
  1. Proof the yeast by pouring the yeast and sugar into the warm water in a bowl of your stand mixer and gently stir until the yeast dissolves.
  2. Let the yeast and water stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast doesn’t foam, it is either inactive of you have used water that is too cold or too hot; start over with fresh yeast.)
  3. Once the yeast has bloomed, add in the flour, oregano and garlic and fit your mixer with a dough hook.
  4. Mix on low until combined stopping if need be to scrape down the sides.
  5. After 3 minutes of mixing, add in the salt. You never want to add the salt directly to the yeast as that will kill it on contact.
  6. Mix until a soft, smooth elastic ball forms; ~8-10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but still be wet/tacky to the touch. If need be add a Tbl of flour or so to help combine. If it’s too dry, add a Tbl of water.
  7. Add in the butter cubes and mix for another 3-5 minutes or until the butter is all incorporated. Don’t worry as the dough will separate initially but it will come back into a smooth dough.
  8. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a very lightly floured surface.
  9. Give it a few kneads to form the dough into a smooth ball tucking the ‘ends’ underneath.
  10. Place in a lightly oiled bowl (at least 2-3 times bigger than the ball) and cover with plastic wrap.
  11. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free area. Allow the dough to double in size. ~2 hours.
  12. Once the dough is doubled in size, scrape it out onto a lightly floured area and divide the dough into 4 equal sized pieces.
  13. Gently form the pieces into 4 smooth balls tucking the ‘ends’ underneath.
  14. Place on a lightly greased pan.
  15. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
Make the filling
  1. In a bowl place the noodles, 2 cups of marinara sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan.
  2. Gently mix to combine and set aside.
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F with the rack in the middle. If you have a Pizza Stone , place that in the center. If you don’t, invent a large baking pan and place that in the oven while preheating. I personally use a Pizza Screen (which doesn’t need preheated). If you use a pizza stone, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on heating that up.
  2. If using a pizza stone or baking pan, place the dough ball on a Pizza Peel or parchment paper with cornmeal on it. If using a pizza screen, just pat the dough out on lightly floured surface.
  3. Start with the dough ball and pat down/stretch the center of the dough ball and slowly stretching the dough to a 6” round circle. Leave a 3/4“ edge. Do NOT make the middle that thin. You just want to create almost a ‘lip’ around the edge.
  4. Brush the edges of the dough (the lip) with the melted butter.
  5. Take 2-3 Tbl of marinara sauce and place a thin layer of sauce in the well. You should have about a 1/2 cup sauce leftover. Save this
  6. Take a quarter of the pasta filling and mound that in the ‘well’ part of the dough. It should mound up at least an inch high. It’s OK as you want this. The dough will cook up and around the filling.
  7. Place 1 meatball (2 halves) on top of the filling.
  8. Top each one with 2 Tbl of the remaining marinara sauce.
  9. Evenly divide the remaining shredded mozzarella over top of the filling.
  10. If using a pizza stone, slide the dough onto the pizza stone. If using a baking sheet, place the parchment paper with the dough on top. If using a screen, place inside the oven directly.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the dough is crispy golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes.


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